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Example 1.1 Equipment rental at BuildIT.

BuildIT is a construction company specialized in public works, such as roads,
bridges,pipelines, tunnels and railroads. Within BuildIT, it often happens that engineers
working at a construction site (called site engineers) need a piece of equipment, such as a
truck, an excavator, a bulldozer, a water pump, etc. BuildIT owns very little equipment
and instead it rents most of its equipment from specialized suppliers.
The existing business process for renting equipment goes as follows. When site engineers
need to rent a piece of equipment, they fill in a form called “Equipment Rental Request”
and send this request by email to one of the clerks at the company’s depot. The clerk at
the depot receives the request and, after consulting the catalogs of the equipment
suppliers, selects the most cost-effective equipment that complies with the request. Next,
the clerk checks the availability of the selected equipment with the supplier via phone or
email. Sometimes the selected option is not available. In these cases, the clerk has to
select an alternative piece of equipment and check its availability with the corresponding
supplier. After finding a suitable and available piece of equipment, the clerk adds the
details of the selected equipment to the rental request. Each rental request has to be
approved by a works engineer, who also works at the depot. In some cases, the works
engineer rejects the equipment rental request. Some rejections lead to the cancelation of
the request, i.e., no equipment is rented at all. Other rejections are resolved by replacing
the selected equipment with another equipment—such as a cheaper piece of equipment or
a more appropriate piece of equipment for the job. In this latter case, the clerk needs to
lodge another availability request.
When a works engineer approves a rental request, the clerk sends a confirmation to the
supplier. This confirmation includes a Purchase Order (PO) for renting the equipment.
The PO is produced by BuildIT’s financial information system using information entered
by the clerk. The clerk also records the equipment rental in a spreadsheet that is used to
monitor all ongoing equipment rentals.
In the meantime, the site engineer may decide that the equipment is no longer needed. In
this case, the engineer asks the clerk to cancel the request for renting the equipment. In
due time, the supplier delivers the rented equipment to the construction site. The site
engineer then inspects the equipment. If everything is in order, the site engineer accepts
the engagement and the equipment is put into use. In some cases, the equipment is sent
back because it does not comply with the requirements of the site engineer. In this case,
the site engineer has to start the rental process all over again.
When the rental period expires, the supplier comes to pick up the equipment. Sometimes,
the site engineer asks for an extension of the rental period by contacting the supplier via
email or phone 1 to 2 days before pick-up. The supplier may accept or reject this request.
A few days after the equipment is picked up, the equipment’s supplier sends an invoice to
the clerk by email. At this point, the clerk asks the site engineer to confirm that the
equipment was indeed rented for the period indicated in the invoice. The clerk also
checks if the rental prices indicated in the invoice are in accordance with those in the PO.
After these checks, the clerk forwards the invoice to the financial department. The
financial department eventually pays the invoice.